When I was seventeen, I had a fleeting love affair with the terrible jam bands that are always vogue in Colorado. One winter night, I went to see Yonder Mountain String Band, an obnoxious bluegrass jam band from Colorado. I had been in the concert for a couple hours, but after getting elbowed by no less than five people who looked like Chewbacca, I decided to head for the exit.
I must have been a little bit second-hand high, because I went to the Good Times across the street and ate a Guacamole burger. Ten minutes after finishing the burger, I realized that I was in the most intense intestinal distress that I had ever been in.
Besides having attended concerts with each of the Bureau staffers except Jordan, my most irritating concert experience was Destroyer at the 2006 Pitchfork Music Festival. I was a fan of 2006’s Destroyer’s Rubies, particularly the epic 10-minute opening track “Rubies” and the subtle, energetic “Painter in Your Pocket.” As such, I was excited for the chance to see these songs live, hopeful that frontman Daniel Bejar’s obvious passion in the studio would translate into a powerful stage performance.
Instead, I received a sudden and complete comprehension of Bejar’s absolute self-indulgence. Without the smoothing glaze of studio production, his quirky, unique voice became shrill and nasal. Worse, when he came to a part of a song that particularly pleased him, he would close his eyes and shake his head back and forth ever-so-slightly, like a cut-rate lounge singer. He wasn’t passionate about his music in the way I had imagined; rather, he radiated narcissistic pride. Bejar’s music, full of inane artistic references and an unnecessary preponderance of ‘na-na-na’s, walks the fine line of tolerability on its own. With Bejar’s loathsome presence in the mix, I was put over the edge, and I haven’t been able to enjoy Destroyer since. To top it all off, he was the act immediately preceding Art Brut, one of the highlights of the festival, and by taking time out to see Destroyer I was unable to get within a mile of the genius that is Eddie Argos.
In closing: fuck you, Daniel Bejar.
I have so many annoying concert experiences that it is hard to know where to start. Few events are actually memorable, but there are just those little things that bug the hell out of me at every single show. One story, though, sticks out in my mind because it was so bizarre. I was at a small up-and-coming venue in my hometown called Howie and Sons Pizza Parlor. It was a random show on a weeknight. I think the group was called All All You You Pretty Pretty White White Horses. At least it was something similar to that, and I was excited to see a band with such an awesome name. There were still families finishing their dinner when this group comes on with a female lead singer. At the very first song she begins taking off her clothes! It is not often that you see a striptease at a family restaurant at 9 o’clock on a Thursday. In addition, the music was awful. The evening became quite entertaining, however, when the fathers present began jeering the band and rushing the promoter to demand their $2 cover charge be refunded.
Living near Boston, you feel obliged to see the Dropkick Murphys on St. Patrick’s Day at least once in your life. When the opportunity arose, tickets were already sold-out, so I had to settle on seeing the band the day before St. Paddy’s in Providence, Rhode Island. Not really a big deal; it still counts.
Maybe it was the opening band (“We’re called Blood & Whiskey, and this song is called ‘King of the Faeries’.”), maybe it was the deafeningly loud sound, or maybe it was the Murphys’s insulting rendition of the Clash’s “Guns of Brixton,” but I had never been so furious leaving a concert. I was so angry the next day that I got a speeding ticket. (These two events may not actually be related, but I think I’ve earned the right to blame the Murphys for anything that goes wrong in my life from here on.)
So, all in all, the Dropkick Murphys were the worst concert experience I’ve ever had. Either that or the last time I heard any form of a capella.
I don’t believe in live music.